This page exists for the benefit of podcasters looking for short pieces that may obliquely relate to and complement larger themes. if you are interested in using any of these pieces I can easily be reached: email@example.com
“BEFORE AND AFTER”: I’ll be blunt. On the surface this piece delves into the implications of a child being sexualized at an abnormally early age. But it’s a layered work and could also apply to any form of addiction, especially if its foundation is established in childhood. That said, it’s not entirely bleak. The two-minute “jam” that concludes the piece suggests that an all-too abbreviated childhood can best be countered with a stance of defiant exuberance.
In time, when you’re just another goofy old stoner from the town’s golden day, you might look back on this moment and recognize it as the concluding gasp of a brief Before as well as the opening note of a very long Thereafter.
You will always wonder, but you will never understand. Maybe it’s been triggered by an image or a gesture, a tone. But whatever this is you can’t label it good or bad, it just doesn’t work in those terms at all. But of anything you have so-far known this is the most intensely pure.
Whatever it is has just cut through you, and though you have somehow missed its arrival, you now feel engulfed by a dissonant beauty that gives you vertigo and cravings that can flay you from the inside.
Things will never be the same, and you will chase this moment to the end of everything.
Your childhood is over! Yes you will play, but now there will always be an ulterior purpose behind it, and you can’t possibly imagine how many years you will live alone with your incomprehensible wounds and ecstasies.
Someday you will hear people describing their first experiences with meth or crack, and of how in the click-of-a-watch their lives were rocketed into a brief existence worthy of the word, where every previous aspiration has been downgraded in deference to a state of hyper-colored grace,
And just like them, striving to go higher than they can possibly go, you will seek forever another moment as crystal-like as this.
You will never again be a child. When you dream the dreams no child should ever dream it’s a one-way crossing.
In time, this moment will downgrade into a memory of a memory: an orchestral crescendo patched through a lo-pass filter, but it will still resonate with an urgency that only the lost child can fully comprehend.
And you sense that if there’s a God, this is one of the things he will hold for himself.
“SHE BELIEVES IN ANGELS” is extracted from a longer work, Lives of the Saints, which deals with the psychology of religious cults. This particular passage addresses Privilege but in a whimsical manner.
A woman I know believes in angels, but it’s really not hard to see why./ She lives alone, but every morning a breakfast is waiting on her table./ Her house has no roof, but it has never once rained inside./ And though she makes no effort at all, her garden thrives and naturally grows into perfectly symmetrical formations./ Her shop was looted a while back, but the only things missing turned out to be a few scented candles and a large portrait of the Master./ When she drives down the boulevard her lane immediately clears, and each light locks green until she passes./ If she is late getting to the airport, it inevitably turns out that her flight has been delayed./ I went to a movie with her once, and when she left the theater for five minutes the actors paused until she returned.
“A GENESIS OF SORTS” is also taken from a longer work, in this case At the Wall of Tears Boutique, which probes intergenerational tensions playing out in the context of the Viet-Nam War. Here a son reflects on how his father’s war experiences may have impacted his family in profound ways.
For a year following the war my father was stationed in Germany,/ And during that time he did the things that young men do when members of occupying armies./ It was in this context that he met a young German woman./ She was delicate and refined, and even aristocratic in manner;/ However, her post war circumstances had reduced her to a life of utter dependency upon the goodwill, and indeed, the attentions of the American GI’s./ I don’t know, but quite possibly it was the very helplessness of her situation that left an indelible impression upon my father./ In any event, for years my mother’s body would serve as a vessel into which this German woman could enter for a few moments at a time.
Now I am not one who subscribes to notions of divine sense and order,/ And I truly do not expect Apollo to ever escape the shackles of this green-blue world,/ But in my estimation we are born of many things.
I came of age in a time when metallic birds occupied the skies above Hanoi,/ Joyfully dropping their eggs in midair.
Less layered and lighter in tone “FRUGAL” presents a man’s attempt at frugality that may strike the listener as something else altogether.
I have a friend who refuses to own a vacuum cleaner. He has never considered one to be a cost effective purchase. His house is so small, and he so rarely has visitors that the state of his carpeting does not often concern him. On those occasions when someone is to visit him at home, he pulls out a thick roll of industrial tape and wraps it around his feet with the adhesive on the outside. He then proceeds to walk around the carpet. With each step he collects numerous hairs, toenails, food crumbs and miscellaneous particles of dirt, dust and skin. He cleans house so infrequently, that he has to repeat this process 15 or 20 times before his carpets are sufficiently clear of debris. It is far from perfect, but in my friend’s estimation it beats the hell out of buying a vacuum cleaner, and after all his house is so very small.
Although nothing in particular is ever specified, the woman whose dream we experience in “JERALD” clearly feels a strong sense of remorse. Should she?
In her dream Jerald is sitting in a rusted, metal wheelchair,
His legs covered by a heavy, knitted blanket.
They are on the rocky Lake Ontario beach
Where she and her family spent several summer vacations
when she was a young girl,
But in the dream it is clearly a late Autumn morning.
Given the rockiness of the beach
Gerald could not possibly have been wheeled there,
But it doesn't matter; it's a dream.
They are close enough to the water
That the black waves are crashing in on them,
And they are both cold,
And there is a steady drizzle pouring down.
As she protectively leans into him,
She can feel warm tears on his face,
But otherwise he projects nothing.
Overcome by an exquisite combination of tenderness and remorse,
She emits a series of deep and profoundly satisfying sobs.
"I'm sorry Jerald. I am so sorry."
“UNREQUITED”: Ordinary people meet, experience ordinary euphoria, and then ordinary tensions.
Electric Guitar: Phil Calvert
Voice and Other Instruments
At present he is unattached. A year ago he ended a relationship with a woman who had worked temporarily as a file clerk in his office. He discretely waited until her last day before asking her out for an after-work drink. She accepted, and together they walked to a nearby pub.
Three margaritas and two soft tacos later he drove home basking in her chemistry and a level of conversational intimacy rare in his experience. Two days later he called her at home and within a week they were spending most of their evenings and nights together. He was so overwhelmed with pleasure and gratitude that at first her one eccentricity barely registered: You see, she would never allow his to kiss her mouth. When their lips met she would immediately avert her mouth and pull his face into her neck or shoulder.
In all other respects her responsiveness was more than he could hope for, but after a few weeks he began to think of this with some frequency. When he first brought it up she simply denied that this was the case at all. We kiss the time she said. Another time when he pursued the question she laughed evasively and changed the subject. After every such encounter he would back off, saying to himself, "What's it matter? It's just the way she is." But after a few days he would once again focus again on this aspect of their relationship, and he would wonder, "What does it mean? Do I repulse her? Do I not rate in some way, or is it my breath?" So around and around in his head these questions would bounce until he felt a compulsion to approach he once again, and each time her response was enigmatic and evasive, but also increasingly impatient and resentful. So much so that he feared his persistence would strain things to the breaking point. In order to avoid this he resolved to drop the matter entirely, and so,though he never again raised the subject, it was always there for him just beneath the surface. And every time their faces came together he would hope that for once she would not turn her face away, but invariably she did, and never once did their open mouths meets.
During the day his mind wanders from one thing to another, but at night he dreams his sweet, dark dreams.